Many habits and environments in our day to day lives can contribute towards dry brittle, breaking nails. Maybe you peeled off a gel manicure (a major no, no, but in all honesty we’ve probably all done it). It could be the cold winter and your nails are equally as dry and flaky as your hands or realised your regular acrylics have left your bare nails feeling as thin as paper. Or I hate to say it but getting older also effects the natural health of your nails especially if they are not regularly moisturised.
The best solution to all these problems is of course self care as well as a great nail strengthening Polish, infused with many essential vitamins, minerals and other ingredients to help make your nails harder and stronger.
There is a wide array of nail strengtheners on offer, with options that can be used in place of polish, under polish, post-gel mani, and much more.
Take your pick from the best nail strengtheners below. Trust us, your nails will thank you.
Best Overall: duri Rejuvacote 1 (£12.39)
The tag line for this product reads ‘from dying nails to nails to die for,’ and we couldn’t agree more. We reach for it time and time again, whether to use as a
This formula can be used as a rehab treatment post gels, as a base coat, a too coat, or whenever our nails are bare and looking kind of blah.
Two different proteins plus keratin plus calcium work together to stimulate growth, and the formula also effectively seals in the moisture and fatty acids naturally produced by your nail plate to minimise dryness and peeling.
Best for Peeling Nails: Nails Inc Nail Kale Superfood Base Coat (£15.00)
This is the treatment does, in fact, contain kale extract. Coupled with other antioxidant-rich botanical extracts plus strengthening keratin, the formula delivers five different benefits—hardening, hydrating, and nourishing nails, while also stimulating growth and preventing breakage. While it has a minty tint in the bottle, the base coat goes on clear, imparting nails with a healthy, gloss-like sheen.
Best 8-Free: Tenoverten The Foundation Base Coat ($18.00)
Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin and oil often found in anti-oxidant blend topicals or moisturisers. It also helps soothe the skin and protects the lipid barrier.
Many nail products these days are three- or five-free, but this pick is an impressive eight-free, not using eight different chemicals often found in polishes. (It’s also cruelty-free and vegan.) What it does contain is horsetail leaf extract—a plant-based ingredient rich in calcium in silica, essential minerals for healthy nails—as well as nourishing vitamin E. The results is a base that both helps colour adhere better, but also strengthens, repairs peeling, prevents cracking, and fills in unsightly ridges.
Best for Natural Nails: OPI Natural Nail Strengthener (£9.95)
If you like to keep things simple, aren’t sporting acrylics or lots of gels, and just want something to make your natural nails look that much better, try this polish. It will help with strong growth, it also pulls double duty as a great base coat, preventing staining and discoloration while helping colour adhere better.
Best Kit: Zoya Naked Manicure Women’s Starter Kit (£34.95)
Amino Acids are the building blocks that make up proteins and have a role in virtually all the biological processes that occur in our bodies, including the reparation of skin.
To create the look of truly flawless nails—no matter how beat up they might be—reach for this four-step system. Step one is a nutrient-packed base coat full of vitamins, proteins, and amino acids that keeps nails both strong and flexible to ward off peeling and breakage.
Follow that with the pink perfector applied allover to instantly brighten nails, and the tip perfector along the free edge to enhance the white tip. A shine-enhancing top coat seals the deal for an end result that makes it look like you’re not wearing any polish at all, just that you have the most natural, gorgeous nails, ever.
Best Polish: Essie Treat Love & Colour (£8.99)
Collagen refers to a family of proteins that are the primary structural component of connective tissues, such as skin, ligaments, and cartilage. Topical collagen creams are said to improve fine lines and wrinkles by replacing the lost collagen, though its main benefit is moisturizing the skin.
For some people, the idea of sporting bare nails is simply unfathomable. We get it, and that’s why we love that Essie offers this nail perfecting polish. It can decrease peeling by 60% and breakage by 35% in just one week; credit collagen and camellia extract. Not to mention that it comes in 32 different hues, all offering a sheer wash of gorgeous color along with these benefits. Plus, you don’t even need a base or top coat with it.
Best High Street Retailer: Sally Hansen Mega Strength Hardener (£6.99)
Sally Hansen pretty much owns the high street retailer nail category, so it’s no surprise that they offer a few different nail strengtheners. This one gets our vote, infused with a fortifying diamond powder to keep your tips extra strong. Bonus points for the extra wide brush that makes application a breeze, as well as the wallet-friendly price.
Best Base Coat: Butter London Horse Power Nail Rescue Base Coat (£15.00)
If you like to have your nails polished at all times, then you’re probably wearing a base coat at all times. And if you’re doing that, you might as well make it a base coat with benefits, like this guy. There are four key ingredients in the formula: Horsetail extract and biotin to promote healthy growth, plus vitamin B and calcium to bolster strength. If your nails are on the struggle bus, this will for sure help transform them, but if they’re already in good shape, this will help keep them that way.
Best After Acrylics: Deborah Lippmann All About that Base CC Base Coat (£16.99)
Acrylics can take a serious toll on your tips, especially if you’re sporting them regularly. When it comes time to give your nails a break, load up on this treatment. Not only does it strengthen, hydrate, and fill in ridges (a few of the many benefits it offers), it also has a subtle tint that works to instantly brighten and camouflage any imperfections or white spots. Think of it as an Insta filter for your nails—it just makes everything look that much better.
Best for Nail Biters: Barielle No Bite Pro Growth (£8.99)
For those who tend to nibble on their nails, this treatment is choice. While it goes on invisible and odorless, it has a nasty, bitter taste that will definitely discourage biting. It’s also infused with ingredients to boost growth and strength, helping to transform your nails from bitten down and brittle to long and strong, all in one step.
Best Supplement: HUM Nutrition Killer Nails (£38.00)
Yes, you can definitely score stronger nails by using a topical product, but sometimes addressing the issue internally can help, too. Enter this biotin-based supplement. The B vitamin is thought to promote cell growth, ultimately strengthening nails (and hair too, for that matter). As with any supplement, you’ll want to check with your doctor before taking it, but if you’re looking for an extra way to give your nails an added boost, this can be a good option.
Best Splurge: Côte Strengthening Base & Top Coat (£8.00)
Spending over 20 pounds on a nail treatment might sound like a lot, but this multi-tasker is well worth the price. First and foremost, it’s infused with both vitamin B5 and coffee extract, which work in tandem to strengthen nails. You can use it solo, but it also works equally well as a base coat and/or top coat. Either way, a quick swipe every two to three days is a surefire way to improve the look and condition of your manicure.